Last week, Student Senate voted unanimously to allow Alpha Tau Omega to begin the process of colonization on Wittenberg’s campus.
The vote came a week after Greek Life Senator Michael Southard, ’16, announced last Tuesday that the Inter-Fraternity Council had voted by a margin of 5-2, to allow Alpha Tau Omega to return to Wittenberg’s campus. The two “no” votes came from Delta Tau Delta and Delta Sigma Phi. The news comes just two years after the return of Delta Sigma. While there is plenty of excitement within Wittenberg’s Greek community, there are voices of skepticism about the viability of a sixth fraternity on our small campus.
This will mark the return of the fraternity which used to call the Polis house home. According to Southard, the fraternity decided to fold its Wittenberg chapter after its national office determined “it was not meeting its standards, academically or socially.” Southard went on to add that the expansion was driven by a 5-10 year expansion plan by the National Fraternity, which determined a return to Wittenberg would be prudent at this time.
Alpha Tau Omega traces its history back to Virginia Military Institute, where it was founded by a deeply religious Civil War veteran who fought on the side of the confederacy. The fraternity is no longer absolutely religious, but reports in its creed a “supremacy of good over evil.” Today, the fraternity has become a national fixture found in 32 states. It also has a long history on Wittenberg’s campus, as it first appeared in 1883.
While some have expressed concern about a saturation of fraternities on campus, Southard did not share this concern. In Southard’s words, “This presents us an opportunity to keep Greek life growing and successful.”
When asked about the possibility of Alpha Tau Omega cutting into the rush classes of other fraternities, Southard dispelled this concern, explaining that fraternities begin the colonization process by gaining an understanding of the current state of fraternity life on campus.
“They will look at which pockets of campus are not currently Greek to begin expansion,” Southard said.
While over a third of campus is currently Greek, Southard said that there is no ideal percentage, and noted that he hoped Wittenberg remains an “intergrated campus,” adding, “I think it great that Greeks and non-Greeks and members of different chapters are friendly.”
Alpha Tau Omega’s national office now has the go-ahead to begin the process of colonization.